Clashes as Israel gets set to raze West Bank Bedouin village

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Israeli security forces arrest a demonstrator protesting against demolitions in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on July 4, 2018. (AFP)
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Israeli security forces arrest a demonstrator protesting against demolitions in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on July 4, 2018. (AFP)
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Israeli security forces arrest a demonstrator protesting against demolitions in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on July 4, 2018. (AFP)
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Israeli security forces arrest a demonstrator protesting against demolitions in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on July 4, 2018. (AFP)
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Israeli security forces arrest a demonstrator protesting against demolitions in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on July 4, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 04 July 2018

Clashes as Israel gets set to raze West Bank Bedouin village

  • Heavy equipment, including at least one bulldozer, were seen around the village
  • Israeli authorities say the village and its school were built illegally and in May

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: Scuffles broke out on Wednesday between Israeli authorities and protesters who feared preparations were underway to raze a Bedouin village in a strategic part of the occupied West Bank, despite international calls for a reprieve.
Protesters, including some waving Palestinian flags, tried to block a bulldozer and scuffled with police at Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem. Some climbed onto the bulldozer in protest.
Israeli police said 11 people were arrested. Israeli rights group B'Tselem said they included the organisation's own head of field research.
The Palestinian Red Crescent reported 35 people injured, with four taken to hospital. Police said the wounded included three officers, including one taken to hospital.
Police said stones were thrown at officers.
The incident came after activists said the Israeli military had issued a warrant to the 173 residents of Khan al-Ahmar on Tuesday, authorising soldiers to seize access roads to the village.
Heavy equipment was seen around the village on Wednesday, prompting speculation a road was being prepared to facilitate its evacuation and demolition.
"Today they are proceeding with infrastructure work to facilitate the demolition and forcible transfer of residents," Amit Gilutz, spokesman for B'Tselem, told AFP.
Israeli authorities say the village and its school were built illegally, and in May the supreme court rejected a final appeal against its demolition.
But activists say the villagers had little alternative but to build without Israeli construction permits, as the documents are almost never issued to Palestinians for building in parts of the West Bank where Israel has full control over civilian affairs.
Israel authorities say they have offered villagers an alternative site.
The village is made up mainly of makeshift structures of tin and wood, as is traditionally the case with Bedouin villages.
It is unclear when the demolition will take place.
Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat condemned the demolition plans and appealed to the international community.
"Are we coming to see one day that Israel can be held accountable?" he asked journalists in Ramallah.
"If not, it means you're pushing this region towards a deeper hole of violence and counter-violence and extremes."
Britain's minister of state for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, visited the village in May and called on the Israeli government to show restraint.
He warned that any forced relocation "could constitute forcible transfer of people as far as the United Nations is concerned."
Forcible transfer is considered a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Khan al-Ahmar is located east of Jerusalem near several major Israeli settlement blocs and close to a highway leading to the Dead Sea.
Activists are concerned continued Israeli settlement construction in the area could effectively divide the West Bank in two.
In another Bedouin village in the same region, Abu Nuwar, Israel carried out a series of demolitions Wednesday on what it described as illegally built structures.
B'Tselem said nine residential structures and three agricultural ones were demolished, leaving 62 people homeless.
The Israeli defence ministry's COGAT unit for civilian affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories said the demolitions had taken place after the "owners of the buildings failed to utilise the planning procedures to their fullest extent".
"This despite the fact that they were given the opportunity to enquire in the matter and were told that if they did not, the illegal construction would be demolished," it said in a statement.


Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

Updated 17 min 17 sec ago

Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

  • The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide

CAIRO: Egypt is seeking Japan’s help to improve its education system, which has fallen to 130th place in international rankings.

The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide, and Cairo is hoping to apply key aspects of Japan’s approach to the Egyptian curriculum.

Education has played a major role in transforming Japan from a feudal state receiving aid following World War II to a modern economic powerhouse. 

During a visit to Japan in 2016, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi discussed political and economic development with Japanese officials, and was also briefed on the Japanese education system.

The Egyptian leader visited Japanese schools and called on Japan to help Egypt introduce a similar system in its schools.  

As part of Egyptian-Japanese cooperation, Japan’s embassy established cultural cooperation as well as technical and professional education links between the two countries. Collaboration has been strengthened from kindergarten to post-university, with Japanese experts contributing in various education fields.

Japanese experts have held seminars in schools across the country, focusing on basic education. 

During one seminar, Japan highlighted the importance of enhancing education by playing games during kindergarten and primary school, encouraging children’s ability and desire to explore.  

Education expert Ola El-Hazeq told Arab News that the Japanese system focuses on developing students’ sense of collective worth and responsibility toward society. This starts with their surrounding environment by taking care of school buildings, educational equipment and school furniture, for example.

“Japanese schools are known for being clean,” El-Hazeq said. “The first thing that surprises a school visitor is finding sneakers placed neatly in a locker or on wooden shelves at the school entrance. Each sneaker has its owner’s name on it. This is a habit picked up at most primary and intermediate schools as well as in many high schools.”

Japanese students also clean their classrooms, collect leaves that have fallen in the playground and take out the garbage. In many cases, teachers join students to clean up schools and also public gardens and beaches during the summer holidays.

El-Hazeq added that neither the teachers nor the students find it beneath their dignity to carry out such chores.

The academic year in Japan continues for almost 11 months, different from most other countries, with the Japanese academic year starting on April 1 and ending on March 31 the following year.

Japan’s school days and hours are relatively longer in comparison with other countries. Usually the school day is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Teachers normally work until 5 p.m. but sometimes up to 7 p.m. Holidays are shorter than in other countries. Spring and winter holidays are no longer than 10 days, and the summer holiday ranges from 40 to 45 days.